The Nuts and Bolts of Proofs: An Introduction to Mathematical Proofs provides basic logic of mathematical proofs and shows how mathematical proofs work. It offers techniques for both reading and writing proofs. The second chapter of the book discusses the techniques in proving if/then statements by contrapositive and proofing by contradiction. It also includes the negation statement, and/or. It examines various theorems, such as the if and only-if, or equivalence theorems, the existence theorems, and the uniqueness theorems. In addition, use of counter examples, mathematical induction, composite statements including multiple hypothesis and multiple conclusions, and equality of numbers are covered in this chapter. The book also provides mathematical topics for practicing proof techniques. Included here are the Cartesian products, indexed families, functions, and relations. The last chapter of the book provides review exercises on various topics. Undergraduate students in engineering and physical science will find this book invaluable.

Key Features

  • Jumps right in with the needed vocabulary—gets students thinking like mathematicians from the beginning
  • Offers a large variety of examples and problems with solutions for students to work through on their own
  • Includes a collection of exercises without solutions to help instructors prepare assignments
  • Contains an extensive list of basic mathematical definitions and concepts needed in abstract mathematics


A supplement for undergraduate courses in higher mathematics as a primer to assist engineering and physical science students on fundamental proof techniques

Table of Contents

List of Symbols

Chapter 1. Getting Started

Introduction and Basic Terminology

General Suggestions

Chapter 2. Basic Techniques to Prove If/Then Statements

What Does “If/Then” Mean?

The Negation of a Statement: AND/OR

Proof by Contrapositive

Proof by Contradiction

Chapter 3. Special Kinds of Theorems

“If and Only If” or “Equivalence Theorems”

Use of Counter Examples

Mathematical Induction

Existence Theorems

Uniqueness Theorems

Composite Statements

Equality of Numbers

Chapter 4. Some Mathematical Topics on Which to Practice Proof Techniques

Basic Set Theory and Indexed Families

About Functions


The Basics of Groups


Sizes of Infinity

Chapter 5. Review Exercises

Exercises without Solutions

Collection of “Proofs”

Solutions for the Exercises at the End of the Sections and the Review Exercises

Solutions for the Exercises at the End of the Sections

Solutions for the Review Exercises

Other Books on the Subject of Proofs and Mathematical Writing



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© 2012
Academic Press
Print ISBN:
Electronic ISBN:


"It is written with great accuracy and a level of enthusiasm necessary for the Herculean task of launching mathematical handle-turners into the world of mathematical thinking…for those required to teach ‘transition courses’, I recommend perusal of this book as a possible course text."--MAA online, December 3, 2013